Linux Will Eat Oracle's Lunch in 2012, Says Analyst

Larry Ellison

Photo: Oracle_ImagesviaFlickr

In 2012, a shocking number of enterprises will slink away from Oracle into the arms of competitors Red Hat and SUSE, new market research finds. This comes even though Oracle has its own flavour of Linux that is basically a copy of Red Hat’s.Worse, this is a part of a bigger trend to move away from Oracle’s most important product, its database, says Jay Lyman, an open source analyst for market research firm The 451 Group told Business Insider.

“Oracle is still strong but the challenge from Linux is growing,” says Lyman.

Oracle has tens of thousands of customers of Solaris, a version of Unix, the go-to operating system in the 1990s and 2000s for powerful or highly technical uses including databases.

Over the past few years, many of those users are leaving Solaris (and other forms of Unix) and going to Linux, which has proven to be equally capable and a whole lot cheaper. When they do, they are more likely to start using new high-performing open source databases, known as NoSQL, Hadoop and Casandra, Lyman says.

In a survey of 165 IT professionals done by The 451 Group, 67% were planning to spend more money with Red Hat for servers that run their databases and only 6% plan to spend less. Meanwhile, 55% plan to spend less with Oracle and only 9% will spend more for either Oracle’s Linux or Solaris in 2012.


Lyman points out that this same trend will also affect IBM and Hewlett-Packard.

Oracle inherited its Unix operating system when it bought Sun Microsystems in 2009 for $7.4 billion. But Oracle thought it was fixing the problem of users ditching Unix for Linux when it created a clone of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. This is a perfectly legit thing to do. RHEL is itself an open source flavour of Linux.

But in Oracle’s typical marketing flamboyance, it called its version of RHEL “Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel”  indicating that its Linux was more reliable and performed faster. In 2010 Oracle tried again.  It made another splashy introduction of another version of Unbreakable Linux. This version of Linux was designed to work especially well with its database, with Oracle saying it was 75 to 200 per cent faster.

But the 451 Group’s research indicates that so far, enterprises aren’t buying it.

Oracle has been asked for comment.

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